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[This year's news cycle was a vicious one, and left little time for reflection. As 2020 nears its end, we're taking the opportunity to look back on the most important Mercury stories written during the past year. This article was originally published on January 6, 2020. We hope you'll consider making a monthly contribution to the Mercury to help continue our work into next year and beyond.—eds.]

For the past 11 years, City Commissioner Nick Fish's office on the second floor of Portland City Hall has been a reliable junction for lively policy discussions, thoughtful conversations between strangers, and nerdy government jokes. But on Friday, as the community reeled from Thursday's announcement of Fish's death, the lights in his office were off and the doors shuttered.

"It's a sad, sad day in City Hall," said Marshall Runkel, chief of staff for Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, whose office sits across the hall from Fish's. "It's a difficult feeling to explain."

Fish was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in 2017—a diagnosis that rarely got in the way of his steadfast commitment to his job's demands. But on December 31, Fish solemnly announced that, due to the growing severity of his illness, he would be resigning from council in 2020.

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Fish died at his home two days later. He was 61.